Ben Carson might be a famous former surgeon, presidential candidate, and current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, but that doesn't mean everything he touches turns to gold. Case in point? He recently sold his house in West Palm Beach, FL, for $920,000—nearly $300,000 below the $1.2 million list price.
This had us wondering: What caused him to cave to a deal so far below what he was hoping to get?
According to our records, Carson listed the 6,155-square-foot, five-bedroom, four bath home for $1.2 million in December 2016. The house was on the market for about six months, which isn't long considering that similar homes in the neighborhood sit for an average of a year and a half before finding a buyer.
So why settle for so much less than list price? Here are some possible reasons to ponder that could provide some pearls of wisdom for anyone looking to sell their own home, too.
Reason No. 1: The list price was too high
Well, here's the obvious possibility: Carson's list price was a bit too big for its britches. That, at least, is the impression we got after talking to the home's listing agent, Arthur Martens at Engel & Volkers.
"If Dr. and Mrs. Carson received an offer between $920,000 and $1.1 million, I told them they should take it," he tells realtor.com®. The reason he urged them to accept a lower price was the recent sale of a comparable home down the street.
"The comp, which was about 500 square feet bigger with a brand-new roof, had recently sold for $835,000," Martens explains. Savvy buyers catching wind of that sale would likely question why Carson's home costs more, particularly since it has some other problems (more on that below).
Reason No. 2: A leaky roof—and mold
Making matters worse, Carson's place had a leaky roof that led to a mold infestation, which would make many potential buyers recoil.
"It is a very serious issue that can absolutely affect a home’s value," says Cara Ameer, a Realtor® in Northeast Florida. "Even if a home had a mold issue and it was remediated, it can be very difficult to overcome the stigma associated with it no matter how much disclosure or reports are provided by the seller."
Luckily, the buyer of Carson's home, Stephen Lustgarten, co-founded a company that performs commercial cleaning services.
"He wasn't afraid of the mold," Martens tells us.
Reason No. 3: An all-cash offer
Carson also might have been accommodating of the less-than-stellar sales price because it was an all-cash offer. This type of offer is always an attractive option for sellers because they know the deal won't get held up if a mortgage doesn't come through.
Reason No. 4: Too many homes to take care of
Carson has been juggling a lot of homes lately. Last year, he shelled out $4.4 million for an 8,782-square-foot mansion in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. And in February 2017, right before being confirmed as HUD secretary, Carson purchased a 6,400-square-foot house in Vienna, VA. And since he can't enjoy all of them even some of the time, he decided to let this one go.
"We didn’t want to be carrying a bunch of properties that we weren’t utilizing,” Carson explained in a video he made to help promote the listing.
"Maintaining multiple residences, especially larger ones with pools and landscaping, can get quite pricey," agrees Ameer.
Curious just how palatial this place is? Check out these listings photos: